In a significant ruling, a Federal High Court in Kaduna has ordered the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) to reinstate nine cadets from the 67 Regular Course who were unlawfully dismissed by the academy authorities after their presidential commissioning on October 5th, 2019. The court also mandated the academy to pay the accrued entitlements owed to the cadets for the years under review.
Presiding Judge, Justice Muhammad Umar, declared that the NDA’s action of withdrawing the cadets after their graduation was unconstitutional, unlawful, and tantamount to conviction without trial. The parents of the affected cadets, led by Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim Daura, the Maradin Daura in Katsina State, had taken the Chief of Army Staff, the Minister of Defence, the Secretary to the State Government, Major General I M Yusuf, NDA, the Chief of Defence Staff, and three others to court after their wards were dismissed for allegedly organizing a night party following their Passing out Parade, which was officiated by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
Justice Umar emphasized the cadets’ right to be heard before any disciplinary action can be taken against them, noting that the NDA failed to grant them a fair hearing before their dismissal. He deemed this unconstitutional and ordered the immediate reinstatement of the plaintiffs, along with the award and payment of their degrees and entitlements, considering their participation in the Passing out Parade.
Following the judgment, counsel to the plaintiffs, Yunus Ustaz Usman SAN, expressed gratitude for the court’s commitment to justice. He emphasized that it is incumbent upon the authorities concerned to comply with the court’s ruling. Usman highlighted the cadets’ exemplary record throughout their five years at the academy and the injustice of their dismissal after successfully graduating.
On the other hand, defence counsel Al-Amin Abubakar stated that his clients would review the judgment and decide on the next course of action. He affirmed that they would communicate the judgment to the parties involved and explore the available options.
The court’s ruling brings hope for the reinstatement and rightful entitlements of the unlawfully dismissed cadets, shedding light on the importance of due process and fairness in disciplinary actions. The outcome of this case serves as a reminder of the significance of upholding constitutional rights and ensuring justice within the Nigerian Defence Academy.